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World day for the abolition of the death penalty

Friday 8th October:

• 20:30 Faenza  • Palazzo Manfredi, Piazza del Popolo 31, Sala Bigari


A strange fruit, a bitter crop.

The death penalty in the USA and Japan

and strategies towards the abolition.


Conversation with Yukari Saito

(member of the Japanese abolitionist association Forum 90 and of the centre of documentation “Semi Sotto la Neve”)

and Claudio Giusti (co-founder of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty)

Organized by Claudio Giusti, Claudia Caroli, Alessia Bruni, Cristiana Bruni in collaboration with Group Italy 193 of Amnesty International Imola and with Legambiente Faenza




Friday 8th October:

• 10:00 Faenza • Museo Internazionale delle Ceramiche viale Baccarini 19

A strange fruit, a bitter crop.

The death penalty in Italy, the US and Japan


Talks by:

Christine Weise

President of the Italian Section of Amnesty international

“The death penalty in the world “


Alessandro Luparini

from Centro Archivi del Novecento of Ravenna

“The abolition of death penalty in the Kingdom of Italy (1861-1890)”


Claudio Giusti

member of  Comitato Scientifico dell’Osservatorio sulla Legalità e i Diritti

“United States of America: from lynching to the death penalty”


Yukari Saito

member of the Japanese abolitionist association Forum 90

and of the documentation centre Semi Sotto la Neve

and Claudia Caroli

Secretariat of the abolitionist association PeACE

“The Japanese noose: a knot  of power difficult to loose”


Readings, dances and music by:

Roberto Bartoli, Marco Boschi, Valentina Caggio, Andrea Pedna,

Paola Sabbatani, Renato Ciccarelli, Sabrina Ciani, Fabrizio Morselli

Organized by Museo Internazionale delle Ceramiche of Faenza (MIC)

together with Claudio Giusti, Claudia Caroli, Alessia Bruni, Cristiana Bruni.


 In cooperation with:

Dott. Claudio Giusti

Via Don Minzoni 40, 47100 Forlì, Italia 
Tel.  39/0543/401562     39/340/4872522


The death penalty in Japan.A very short bibliography.

November 30, 2009


Suggestions welcomed



Amnesty International

ASA 22/005/2009 Japan: Hanging by a thread: Mental health and the death penalty in Japan


ASA 22/006/2006 Japan: “Will This Day Be My Last?” The Death Penalty In Japan
ACT 60/016/2005 Urgent Action in Focus: August 2005: Japan – a long way to go


ASA 22/001/1997 Japan: The Death Penalty: Summary Of Concerns


ASA 22/03/1995 Japan: The Death Penalty: A Cruel, Inhuman and Arbitrary Punishment,COUNTRYREP,AMNESTY,JPN,3ae6a9dd4,0.html


AI Asia Pacific




Federation Internationale des Droit de l’Homme

FIDH 2008 Japon : La Loi du Silence

Japan: The Law of Silence


FIDH 2003 La Peine de Mort au Japon

The Death Penalty in Japan

Edition in Japanese language




Hidden death penalty in Japan


On Death Row in Japan By Charles Lane


Dead Men Walking: Japan’s Death Penalty


Why Japan Still Has the Death Penalty, By Charles Lane, WaPo January 16, 2005


La peine de mort au Japon.  2° Congres Mondial contre la PdM,  Montréal 2004


David T. Johnson and Franklin E. Zimring

Death Penalty Lessons from Asia


David T. Johnson

Japan’s Secretive Death Penalty Policy.




Books of interest


David T. Johnson & Franklin E. Zimring

The Next Frontier: National Development, Political Change, and the Death Penalty in Asia

New York. Oxford UP. 2009


Hood Roger & Hoyle Caroline
The Death Penalty. A Worldwide Perspective. Fourth Edition, Revised and Expanded.

New York. Oxford UP. 2008



In Italian

Amnesty International e Forum 90

La pena di morte: una realtà nascosta



The Yomiuri Shimbun, in 2008 and 2009, published many articles in English about the death penalty

(UNMASKING CAPITAL PUNISHMENT), but they are un-catchable.




Dott. Claudio Giusti

Via Don Minzoni 40, 47100 Forlì, Italia
Tel.  39/0543/401562     39/340/4872522

Member of the Scientific Committee of Osservatorio sulla Legalità e i Diritti, Claudio Giusti had the privilege and the honour to participate in the first congress of the Italian Section of Amnesty International: later he was one of the founders of the World Coalition Against The Death Penalty.



The Parliament of Connecticut abolished the death penalty, but Gov. Jodi Rell menaces the veto. Please, write Her, and write to everybody, in any country, in any language. Death penalty is a human sacrifice, a costly, racist, classist violation of human rights. Nothing more than “the pointless and needless extinction of life”. Death penalty is an enormous waste of lives, money, time and resources. It is not a deterrent and kills the poor, the weak, the mad, the illiterate, and the black.

Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell

State Capitol, 210 Capitol Ave. Hartford,

CT 06106 Fax:(203)524-7396

Tel:(203)566-4840 Tel: 860-566-4840 Toll-Free: 800-406-1527 TDD: 860-524-7397 email:


 Lieutenant Governor Michael Fedele

Conn. Newspapers

From: Claudio Giusti, Italy

Letters to Ecumenics

John Mark Attard from Malta writes to Claudio Giusti:

I will of course write against the death penatly … but there was something written in the message that I didn’t like – 1 paragraph was said:
“Death penalty is an enormous waste of lives, money, time and resources. It is not a deterrent and kills the poor, the weak, the mad, the illiterate, and the black.”

Why did the person who wrote it mentioned the Black only? the death penalty kills not just the black -0 but also the whites. by no means the blacks are better than the whites & also vice-versa … but if he/she mentioned the Blacks – they should also mention the whites… or else they won’t mention any color at all. Racism isn’t just from the whites to the Blacks – but also there are Black racists who make the whites suffer… SO WHY THIS FACT IS NEVER MENTIONED ANYWHERE???

The Blacks have to come to terms with reality – that while they are nothing less than anyone – they also aren’t more than anyone – We are all equal – no White is better than a Black – but no Black is better than a White – People tend to forget this.




Claudio Giusti (Amnesty International) writes to John Mark Attard:


Blacks are 13% of American Population, but they are 50% of the jailed.

1 American adult every 100 is in prison, but for Blacks is 1 man every 10

Blacks are the 50% of the victims of murder (and murder occurs inside the racial community), but 80 % of the executed had killed Whites.

235 Blacks were executed for the killing of a White and 15 White for the killing of a Negro (none never from Texas)

If I say “Death penalty kills the black.” I know what I say

claudio giusti


For Native Americans is even worse.


I understand the point …. however it doesn’t justify anything … the life of a 1,000 Blacks & life of just 1 White – ( and vice versa is of the same importance) – so whenever a Black or a White is mentioned – the other relative (Black or White) should be mentioned too –

However – I have totally understood the point … but this what I say – is how things ought to be – if they are to be in the very right way.

Life is life – no matter of whom … so we are all equal.

John Mark Attard



I’m a Christian non only for a compassion reason but I’m a follower of Jesus because I care of a new word of justice. The life is life but in this life very often there is not justice: the statistic show us;

the poverty is the main cause of every kind of inequality.

We must support civil e Human rights but  Peace, Justice and the Integrity of Creation too.

Maurizio Benazzi


One among the several problems connected to death penalty (and not only in the American society) is its impudently use as a status and racial tool and I am very surprised reading these kind of statements.

Victims of death penalty are mainly poor people, better if blacks, as in the cases of lynching. Americans are used not to apply litteraly their law because in this way we would have thousands of executions every year, as in other countries. Considering also the social cost, the American middle class wouldn’t stand this situation.

Claudio Giusti

Friday, March 13, 2009

New Mexico Senate Approves HB 285
The Senate approved the measure on a vote of 24 yes, 18 no.  HB 285 would replace the state’s death penalty with a sentence of life in prison. Governor Bill Richardson has not said whether he will sign the bill, but has said that his past support of the death penalty has “softened,”
Dear Friend,
The time has come for personal contacts to New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson urging him to take a leadership position on New Mexico’s groundbreaking package of legislation designed to better support the families of murder victims.  Please craft and send your personal message today.  A phone call would be great, and even better would be if you fax a letter, then follow it up with a telephone call.  An additional touch would be to also send the letter in the postal mail.

Thank you for taking this action today.  If you have any questions or I can help you in any way, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

Viki Elkey
Executive Director 

New Mexico Coalition to Repeal the Death Penalty
PO Box 8552
Santa Fe, NM 87504
Fax: 505.986.9287
Cell: 505.205.3750

Information for calls, letters and faxes to NM Governor Bill Richardson

Address:        Office of the Governor

490 Old Santa Fe Trail
Room 400
Santa Fe, NM 87501

Telephone:    (505)827-3000

Fax:                (505)827-3026

Points to make in your message to the Governor:

Please encourage Governor Richardson to support HB 285 to abolish the death penalty in New Mexico, and also support HB 211 that allows for paid or unpaid leave for family members to attend court proceedings and HB 284 that expands services to murder victim family members in New Mexico.

It’s about helping murder victim families:

New Mexico will become the first state to TRULY put victims’ families first.  When murder happens, it is the family of the victim that suffers the most and the longest – yet our criminal justice system is focused on how to treat the murderer. It is time for the focus to return to the family, to address the harsh realities of losing a loved one. The Catastrophic Crime and Family Restitution Program would replace the death penalty with true life without parole and create an innovative package of services for the families of murder victims – the first such program in the country. This legislation is the toughest on criminals and the most compassionate to the families of the victim.


Public opinion supports this package of bills:

A statewide December 2008 poll of likely New Mexican voters showed that 64% support replacing the death penalty with life without parole plus restitution to victims’ families.  That number is higher for the following categories:

1.        Hispanic voters, 72%

2.        Democrats, 73%

3.        Roman Catholics, 73%

Keeping the death penalty means risking a wrongful execution:

At least 130 men and women who were convicted and sentenced to death have been released from death row nationwide since 1973 – less than 15% of them through DNA evidence.  Rather, it is false witness testimony, police misconduct and prosecutorial misconduct that put innocent men and women on death row in this country.   In 1974, New Mexico sentenced to death four innocent men, Thomas Gladis, Ronald Keine, Clarence Smith and Richard Greer, based on false witness testimony and police misconduct. A 1992 study found 23 cases since 1900 where innocent people were executed.

The death penalty costs too much:

According to the NM Public Defender Department, the abolition of the death penalty would save New Mexico several million dollars each year.  The costs of the death penalty are borne systemically, impacting the Public Defender Department, the Attorney General’s office, the various District Attorney offices, and the trial and the appellate courts.  In December, 2004, Supreme Court Chief Justice Bosson estimated that the cost of a death penalty case was 6 times higher than other murder cases in New Mexico.

The world is watching:

Since 2007, the last time an abolition bill was up for consideration in the NM State Legislature, the following countries have abolished the death penalty – Liberia, Mexico, the Philippines, Albania, Rwanda, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Chile, Argentina and the Tongo.  This brings the total number of abolitionist countries to 91, with another 33 countries that are abolitionist in practice.  New Mexico wants to join these countries in abolishing the death penalty instead of remaining with the likes of China, Cuba, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Dott. Claudio Giusti

Via Don Minzoni 40, 47100 Forlì, Italia
Tel.  39/0543/401562     39/340/4872522

Once Upon a Time there was the theory of the deterrence of the death penalty.
This theory was easy to understand: “the more the State kills, the less there are homidices”, but it was a hoax.

Americans belive in death penalty even if in the Thirties, when executions were common, the homicide rate was very hight and in Forties and Fifties both executions and murders fall. They take for granted that the grow of homicides in the Sixties was linked to the suspension of executions (1967-1977) and forget that America was without capital punishment for a very short time after Furman. According to the hangmanfriends any drop in the homicide rate is the benefit of the soar of executions and they do not notice that both rise from 1984 to 1991.

Their mantra is that each execution saves 18 innocent lives (someone offers even more) and from 1991 to 1999 this seemed to happen: with more and more executions and less and less murders. The triumph of the executioner was 1999 with 98 executions, 300 death sentences and the lowest homicide rate in decades: 5,7.
So, they all lived happily ever after?
Not exactly.

Executioners’ triumphalism ends the following year.
Their bombastic confidence suddenly disappeared as the supposed deterrent effect of the death penalty vanished. Since 2000 we saw a breakneck drop both in sentences as well as executions and, in the same time, we assisted to a remarkable stability in the homicide rate. Death sentences are now a little more than one hundred per year and executions were only 53 in 2006, 42 in 2007 and a mere 37 in 2008. On the other side the homicide rate looks nailed between 5,5 and 5,7.

This can be explained in two ways: prospective murderers do not know that the probability to be condemned to death is even rarer than before, or the whole theory of the deterrence of capital punishment is an enormous bullshit.
I am inclined to the second explanation.

Americans hangmanfriends are very insular and do not like to get a look abroad: not even north of the border. It’s a pity because they could learn a lot.
In 2002 Americans were very happy because they had only 16.638 criminal homicides. They were right because, from 1984 to 1993, criminal homicides were 22.000 per year and 25.000 in 1991. Au contraire, in the same 2002, in Italy we were very afraid because, with a population that is grosso modo one fifth of the American one, we had 638 homicides. We were very concerned about it, even if those 638 were less than one third the 2.000 homicides we had in 1991. Americans love to think the drop in homicides is a benefit of the death penalty. We cannot agree because we are a death penalty free country. (In Europe this punishment is strictly forbidden and the majority of the world is abolitionist).
Actually Italy ended capital punishment in 1877 and had it again only under fascism. In those sad years the homicide rate was five times bigger that we have now, and, in the twenty years following the definitive end of the death penalty (1948-1968), the homicide rate dropped from 5 to 1,4.
Something very similar happened in Canada in the years that followed the end of capital punishment in 1976. Since then its homicide rate fell down constantly.
Curiously in the same July 1976 the US Supreme Court gave green light to the “new and improved” American death penalty and, with the shooting of Gary Gilmore (17th January 1977), the hangman was back in business and the experiment begun. Now, after more than 1.100 human sacrifices, we can say with Justice Blackmun: “the death penalty experiment has failed”.

Americans can see that capital punishment is not a deterrent even in their own country, where 15 jurisdictions are abolitionist (Michigan since 1837). A long time ago Thorsten Sellin observed that: “the states with executions chambers had rate or murder that were significantly higher than states that did not execute murders”. Possibly this is a consequence of the wild examples of brutality executions give, because: “ Our Government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example.” (Justice Brandeis, dissenting in Olmstead).

Of course this does not satisfy hangmanfriends, so John Lott writes:
“This simple comparison really doesn’t prove anything. The 12 states without the death penalty have long enjoyed relatively low murder rates due to factors unrelated to capital punishment.”
And wins the 2008 chutzpah prize.
Claudio Giusti
Please, excuse my very bad English

Dott. Claudio Giusti
Via Don Minzoni 40, 47100 Forlì, Italia
Tel. 39/0543/401562 39/340/4872522
Member of the Scientific Committee of Osservatorio sulla Legalità e i Diritti, Claudio Giusti had the privilege and the honour to participate in the first congress of the Italian Section of Amnesty International: later he was one of the founders of the World Coalition Against The Death Penalty.

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